Quick Studies: A snapshot of the latest research on diet, exercise, and more

Not-So-Fine Whole Grains

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/stock.adobe.com.

All whole grains are not created equal, at least for people with type 2 diabetes.

Scientists gave 31 people with diabetes devices to continually measure their blood sugar and instructions to eat a supply of whole grains—either less-processed (rolled oats, brown rice, and bread made with coarsely milled whole-grain flour and kernels) or more-processed (instant oats, brown rice pasta, and bread made with finely milled whole-grain flour)—for two weeks each.

Blood sugar levels spiked less on the less-processed than on the finely milled whole grains. On average, participants lost a pound on the less-processed grains and gained a pound on the finely ground grains.

What to do: Whole grains beat refined grains, but less-processed whole grains may be best. Others include bulgur, quinoa, and wheat berries.

Diabetes Care 2020. doi:10.2337/dc20-0263.

Aspirin & Memory


Does aspirin help keep your mind sharp?

Scientists randomly assigned roughly 19,000 older people to take a daily 100 mg enteric-coated aspirin or a placebo. (A low-dose aspirin has 81 mg; a regular has 325 mg.)

After five years, the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s, mild cognitive impairment, and cognitive decline was the same in both groups.

What to do: Don’t take aspirin to protect your memory.

Neurology 2020. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000009277.

The Knees Have It

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/stock.adobe.com.

Does strenuous exercise boost your risk of osteoarthritis of the knee?

Researchers followed nearly 1,200 middle-aged and older people at high risk for knee arthritis—that is, they had symptoms (like pain or stiffness) or other risk factors (like excess weight, family history, or knee injury)—but with no sign of arthritis on x-rays.

After 10 years, those who did strenuous activities—like jogging, swimming, cycling, singles tennis, aerobic dance, or skiing—were no more likely to be diagnosed with arthritis on x-rays than those who did none.

And in a one-year study of 156 people with knee arthritis, those who were randomly assigned to get physical therapy had less pain, stiffness, and impaired function than those who got glucocorticoid injections.

What to do: Keep moving! And consider physical therapy if you have knee arthritis.

JAMA Network Open 2020. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen .2020.4049.N. Engl. J. Med. 382: 1420, 2020.

Sleepier & Hungrier

woman yawning

Less sleep may make you more hungry.

Researchers randomly assigned 24 women who typically slept 7 to 9 hours a night to one night of sleep for their usual duration or to a night of sleep for a third fewer hours.

The day after sleeping less, the women reported more hunger and stronger food cravings than after a normal night of sleep. They also served themselves 14 percent more calories for lunch and clicked a computer mouse button in exchange for chocolate candy more often.

What to do: Be aware that less sleep may make you hungrier.

Nutrients 11: 663, 2019.